Enhanced spatiotemporal resolution imaging of neuronal activity using joint electroencephalography and diffuse optical tomography

Neurophotonics. 2021 Jan;8(1):015002. doi: 10.1117/1.NPh.8.1.015002. Epub 2021 Jan 1.


Significance: Electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) are both commonly used methodologies for neuronal source reconstruction. While EEG has high temporal resolution (millisecond-scale), its spatial resolution is on the order of centimeters. On the other hand, in comparison to EEG, fNIRS, or diffuse optical tomography (DOT), when used for source reconstruction, can achieve relatively high spatial resolution (millimeter-scale), but its temporal resolution is poor because the hemodynamics that it measures evolve on the order of several seconds. This has important neuroscientific implications: e.g., if two spatially close neuronal sources are activated sequentially with only a small temporal separation, single-modal measurements using either EEG or DOT alone would fail to resolve them correctly. Aim: We attempt to address this issue by performing joint EEG and DOT neuronal source reconstruction. Approach: We propose an algorithm that utilizes DOT reconstruction as the spatial prior of EEG reconstruction, and demonstrate the improvements using simulations based on the ICBM152 brain atlas. Results: We show that neuronal sources can be reconstructed with higher spatiotemporal resolution using our algorithm than using either modality individually. Further, we study how the performance of the proposed algorithm can be affected by the locations of the neuronal sources, and how the performance can be enhanced by improving the placement of EEG electrodes and DOT optodes. Conclusions: We demonstrate using simulations that two sources separated by 2.3-3.3 cm and 50 ms can be recovered accurately using the proposed algorithm by suitably combining EEG and DOT, but not by either in isolation. We also show that the performance can be enhanced by optimizing the electrode and optode placement according to the locations of the neuronal sources.

Keywords: diffuse optical tomography; electroencephalography; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; image reconstruction; neurovascular coupling.